As a gal who is passionate about food production, youth development, and community service, I was happy to volunteer at the South Plains Food Bank in Lubbock, TX. When I moved to Lubbock, one of the first things I did was reach out to Sandy, the GRUB coordinator at SPFB. I knew that the GRUB program had a few acres of farmland that was used for volunteers and students to come work with the land and experience the fruits of their labor.
The GRUB stands for “Growing Recruits for Urban Business.” The program focuses on teaching young adults, ages 14 to 21, work ethic and job skills that can be transferred from the farm to the work force outside of SPFB. Students and workers get to work on the 5-acre Carolyn Lanier Youth Farm. The work includes gardening, soil preparation, irrigation system maintenance, planting and harvesting plants, and marketing the produce. One of my favorite aspects of the program is the nutrition courses available on Saturday mornings.
During my first visit, I was able to spend all morning getting a tour of the farm, exploring the greenhouses, when certain vegetables are grown and harvested, take a look of a bee hotel, and plan for future leadership training events. Here I am admiring a head of lettuce that had withstood the cold winter weather:
Perhaps one of the neatest projects I saw was the jam that is made. There were a plethora of flavors, including jalapeño, apricot, and BACON! I plan to plant seeds with the students on February 25th, and continue my involvement in planting, harvesting, marketing vegetables, and also making jellies and soaps!
I am excited to continue my Saturday visits to the farm, as I will be volunteering to work with the students on leadership skills and traits of hireability. I would also like to be an inspiration in advocating for further education beyond high school.
GRUB is a wonderful program for youth development, but also for personal reflection, and a hand in producing local foods. If you are ever in Lubbock, I recommend stopping by the farm!